Team Trees Donation Count … As a TREEmap!

EverydayPlots - Team Trees Donation Count

Unless you’ve been living under a (virtual) rock online, chances are that you’ve already heard of the famous Team Trees fundraising challenge. So I thought – why not use this opportunity to spread more awareness about this challenge AND teach people some cool data visualization while I’m at it?

So in this post, I’ll tell you about #teamtrees initiative and teach show you how to use the visual called ‘Treemap’ to visualize the Team Trees donation count. Let’s go!

What is Team Trees?

Team Trees, also known as TeamTrees or #TeamTrees, is a 2019 collaborative fundraising challenge aiming to raise 20 million U.S. dollars by 2020 to plant 20 million trees. The initiative was started by American YouTubers MrBeast and Mark Rober, and is mostly supported by YouTubers.

– Wikipedia

This challenge started when MrBeast, the famous Youtuber, decided to celebrate reaching the 20 million subscriber milestone on his channel. He and Mark Rober partnered up with Arbor Day Foundation, the non-profit responsible for managing the donations and physically planting all these trees. The Team Trees Challenge has gained a lot of popularity since it started, majorly due to its very rich and famous donors (including the likes of Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, PewDiePie), along with a deluge of smaller donors.

The current Team Trees donation count is already at 16 million+ (27 Nov, 2019) and they’re making huge progress towards their goal of 20 million.

So… What is a Treemap?

First of all – the only thing common between Team Trees and a Treemap is … a tree. Trees are what this challenge is about, and trees are what inspired the Treemap visual.

However you’ll soon see that a treemap doesn’t look like a tree. The only influence trees have on this visual is the hierarchical nature of organizing objects or information. A treemap is basically a way of displaying hierarchical or categorical data as nested figures, mostly rectangles. This visual assigns each data category an area on the canvas proportional to its value. All the categories are then plotted as differently-sized rectangles to make up 100% of the area. You can drill up or down different levels of categories depending on the ‘nature’ (pun intended) of your data.

Treemap Chart in Excel (Category Example)
Treemap Chart in Excel (Category Example)

Here I’ve shown a sample treemap for category sales in a retail store, plotted using Microsoft Excel. You can see the different blocks of various sizes and colors. Each block is a category and the block area is proportional to it’s sales value. Clearly, Category 4 is the biggest one with 98 units of sale, followed by Category 7 (96 units), and so on, with Category 9 being the smallest (22 units).

If we have sub-categories in our data, each category block will be split into smaller proportional rectangles (subcategories) as shown below.

Treemap Chart in Excel (Sub Category Example)
Treemap Chart in Excel (Sub Category Example)

Here we have split the main categories into their sub-categories. For example – Category 6 has four sub-categories: A, B, C, D of different sizes and has been split proportionally. Similarly for Categories 1, 2, 4 etc.

So now that we know what a treemap is and how it looks like, let’s use it to visualize the current Team Trees donor count.

Visualizing Team Trees Donation Count

To plot the treemap for Team Trees, I’ll be using another visualization tool called Microsoft Power BI. Power BI extends the functionality of Excel and lets us make very dynamic and interactive dashboards with a variety of visuals and elements.

Here is the interactive dashboard with the current Team Trees donation progress. Hover over the different elements to get more info about them. If you’re unable to see the embedded dashboard below, visit this link. Viewed best on a desktop.

Observation: The power of small donors

Let’s focus on the treemap in the Power BI dashboard above.

Treemap Chart in Power BI - Team Trees Donation Count
Team Trees Donation Count (Power BI Treemap) (27 Nov 2019)

The most fascinating part of this visual is just how big the total contribution of smaller donors is, compared to the overall fund amount. Reading about Elon Musk or Toby Lutke donating 1 million trees makes us feel like they’re the ones doing most of the charity. But if we look at the data, it’s clearly people like us who’ve contributed more than 60% of the total funds!

So tell your neighbor about this initiative and ask them to donate. Let’s take Team Trees donation count to 20 million. Let’s make our planet a greener place for all!


So now you know about Team Trees and their cause, what the visual Treemap does and how it looks (in Excel and Power BI). You can download the working files from my Github and try plot your own treemaps. Here are some more things you can do next:

  • Donate: Team Trees is still a few millions away from reaching their goal. Help them reach their goal before their deadline. Go donate!
  • Learn: Did you like my Excel treemap or Power BI dashboard? You can learn how to make them too. Head over to this page for some of my personally recommended learning resources.
  • Hire me: You can also hire me to make beautiful and functional visuals for your own data.

See you around!